Police avoided 'violent clashes' between opposing marches, says minister
Home Affairs minister Miquel Buch refuses to resign arguing Mossos used force to avoid "greater problems"
The Home Affairs minister, Miquel Buch, defended on Saturday the behavior of the Catalan police, the Mossos d'Esquadra, during Saturday's protests in Barcelona.
Catalan police officers used violence to avoid pro-independence supporters crossing the cordon separating them from a Spanish police event. Six people were arrested and 14 others injured.
Images of Catalan police officers using force, in at least case hitting protesters in the head, prompted condemnation by far-left groups such as CUP. The party urged the minister to resign.
Following calls for his resignation, Buch said the Mossos avoided "violent clashes" between the two opposing marches: one by Spanish police officers that were honoring their operation to crackdown last year's independence referendum and one by citizens that considered that march a "provocation" considering the amount of violence used by Spanish forces during referendum day.
"Yesterday we managed to avoid bigger problems such a clash that could have become very violent," the minister said.
However, he admitted some policemen did not behave "according to protocol" and promised an investigation. "This is not acceptable and we will have to find out why, how and how many, and from there, take measures," he say, when asked about officers that hit protesters above the waist.